Thursday, March 26, 2015

Building Wealth in Honolulu Property--Rapid and High Appreciation

Home Equity in the Honolulu Real Estate Market 

Than Merrill highlights in Fortune ( very reason that investors continue to seek property in Honolulu:  Rate of Appreciation.  While our home prices are outrageously high, home equity builds at an astounding rate, and investment in housing has been outpacing what is being realized in the U.S. financial markets.  Consider the following statistics, cited by Merrill, that compares Honolulu to the U.S. national average:

  • Homes purchased in the Honolulu housing market one year ago have appreciated, on average, by $7,931. The national average was $12,783 over the same period.
  • Homes purchased in the Honolulu housing market three years ago have appreciated, on average, by $106,505. The national average was $55,406 over the same period.
  • Homes purchased in the Honolulu housing market five years ago have appreciated, on average, by $119,414. The national average was $49,675 over the same period.
  • Homes purchased in the Honolulu housing market seven years ago have appreciated, on average, by $84,991. The national average was $9,474 over the same period.
  • Homes purchased in the Honolulu housing market nine years ago have appreciated, on average, by $145,648. The national average increased $3,419 over the same period.
The National Association of REALTORS website ( reported Honolulu as being among the five most expensive housing markets in the fourth quarter 2014, with median sales prices as follows:  San Jose Metro at $855,000; San Francisco at $742,900; Honolulu at $701,300; Anaheim-Santa Ana at $688,500; and San Diego at $493,100.

Considered to be among the most severely unaffordable housing market in the world,  the convincing factor for buying here is clearly the rate of appreciation that our residential housing offers, particularly if the property is held for three or more years.  Low inventory has been driving the prices higher across the island of Oahu for the past several years, with the February 2015 median sales price for single family homes at $648,000.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Home, Garden & New Products Show is coming this weekend - March 27 - 29

Come see the latest in home improvements, landscaping design and newest building products hitting the market this weekend. 

Home, Garden & New Products Show

 Friday March 27 @ 5pm - 9pm
Saturday March 28 @ 10am - 9pm
Sunday March 29 @ 10am - 5pm

Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall
777 Ward Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96814
United States

$4 G.A / $3 Child, Seniors, Students, Military

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

FHA or Conventional?

FHA vs Conv 200.pngBuyers with a minimum down payment are generally faced with the decision of whether to get a FHA or a conventional loan.  With the new 3% down payment program on conventional loans, it may become more confusing which loan to pursue.

The two loan programs have mortgage fees that can differ greatly.  FHA has a 1.75% up-front mortgage insurance charge in addition to the monthly mortgage insurance charge which was recently lowered by .5%.

FHA’s mortgage insurance is a fixed amount where conventional mortgage insurance providers’ fees are determined by individual companies and according to the credit score of the borrowers.  A borrower with a good credit score will be charged less than a borrower with a marginal credit score.

Mortgage insurance on conventional loans can be cancelled when the equity in the property reaches 20%.  FHA mortgage insurance in most cases, is paid for the life of the mortgage.  Once a borrower has a 20% equity in their home, to eliminate the monthly FHA mortgage insurance, they would need to refinance the home with a conventional loan and would not be eligible for any refund of the up-front fee paid at closing or added to the mortgage.


If a borrower has a low credit score, FHA may be the better choice because conventional underwriters may have a higher minimum score.  FHA loans also tend to be more lenient than conventional loans when a borrower’s total monthly debt exceeds 45% of their monthly income.  FHA tends to allow borrowers a shorter time frame after foreclosures and bankruptcies.

The decision-making factor is which mortgage will provide the lowest cost of housing including payment and all loan fees.  A lot of information is necessary to make a good decision and typically, the borrower isn’t able to acquire it on his/her own.

A trusted mortgage professional is very valuable in not only providing the information but guiding the borrower through the entire process.  Your real estate professional is uniquely qualified to make such a recommendation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Oahu Market Update: March 17, 2015
President Mike James shares the state of the housing market: 

Homes and condos selling like hotcakes, despite February price dip
Homes and condos are selling as quickly as they go on the market. According to the current Days on Market (DOM) indicator and stats released by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, single-family homes were on the market for an average of 25 days, while condominiums were on the market for an average of 29 days, before getting an accepted contract and opening escrow.
And while lack of inventory has been a headline for months, the latest report show that inventory of single-family homes and condominiums was up in February — new listings were up 6.4% in the single-family homes category, and up 14% in the condo segment — which may account for a slight decrease in the median price paid for a single-family homes and condos last month.
The increase in inventory, along with continued record low mortgages is encouraging to potential home buyers who may have been put off by the lack of inventory previously available.

Sales of Single Family Homes and Condos | February 2015
Source: Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, compiled from MLS data
The number of homes that closed in February was up 5.8% from a year ago — from 190 in February 2014 to 201 last month. Condo sales volume was down a slight 2% from 296 units sold a year ago to 290 last month.

Median Sales Price of Single Family Homes and Condos | February 2015
Source: Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, compiled from MLS data
The median price paid for a single-family home fell in February, the first such decline in five months — since August 2014 — to see prices drop. Year-over-year home prices were down 4.6% from $679,000 in February 2014 to $648,000 last month.
The median price of a condominium on Oahu also dropped 9.3% — from $359,450 in February 2014 to $326,000 last month.

Historically, February is one of the slowest months of the year for real estate sales. Looking ahead, the market still shows strength with pending sales (transactions in escrow waiting to close) up in both categories — up 7.5% in single-family homes, and up 1.4% in condos.
This month’s hottest markets include neighborhoods where sellers received 100% (or more) of their original asking price.
Single-family homes trending hot in February:
Aina Haina-Kuliouou: 100% 
Kaneohe: 100% 
Kapahulu-Diamond Head: 100.7% 
Moanalua-Salt Lake: 100% 
North Shore: 102.3% 
Waialae-Kahala: 100%
Hot neighborhoods where Condo sellers received 100 percent or more of their asking price:
Wahiawa: 101.9%
And remarkably, while prices on Oahu overall dropped, there were a few standout neighborhoods where prices set record highs. Indeed, the median price of a single-family home in Kalihi-Palama hit an all-time high of $757,500. Likewise, condos prices in Kalihi-Palama also hit an all-time high of $538,500.
Single-family homes in Ewa posted the second highest Median Sales Prices (MSP) at $580,000.
The recent stats compiled by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS® reported condos in Downtown-Nuuanu posted the second highest MSP in two years, reaching $550,000. Condos sales did well in a number of other neighborhoods around the island as well. The MSP of a condo in Kaneohe broke the $500,000 mark for the second time, at $505,000 in January. And the MSP of condos in Makiki-Moiliili also made record highs of $380,000. Condos were selling for more in Pearl City-Aiea in January too, making $362,500 the highest MSP yet. And Waikiki condo prices are heading up as well, with a new MSP high of $400,000. If you own property in one of these hot neighborhoods and are waiting for the right time to get top dollar, now may be that time.

Selecting a Lender

Selecting-200.jpgFinding a mortgage lender is not a problem. Selecting someone who will help you find the best loan product for your situation even if it means sending you to another lender is paramount.

There is a huge advantage to be able to sit across the table from someone you’re doing business with and look them straight in the eye. It’s difficult to make an informed decision based on a website and a phone call.

Doing business with a full-time professional who specializes in residential loans like you’re trying to get is important. You want the loan officer to be familiar with local conditions, values and practices.

It’s to your benefit to have a loan officer who has the experience to put the unusual transaction together even if yours is not. 

Here are a few questions that will be helpful in selecting the right loan officer.

  1. What percentage of your business are FHA & VA compared to conventional mortgages and how long have you been doing them?
  2. What percentage of your loans close on time according to the sales contracts?
  3. Will my credit score affect my interest rate?
  4. Will you help me select the best loan product for me regardless of your commission?
  5. Are there prepayment penalties on any of the loans we’re considering?
  6. Are there any restrictions on refinancing any of the loans we’re considering?
  7. When is my loan rate locked-in? Is there a charge for that?
  8. Is your loan underwriting in-house?

A real estate professional can be your best source of information and can recommend a trusted lender. If you have any questions as to what kind of answers you should expect, please give me a call.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Break Events for March 20-22

More Honolulu Spring Break Activities for March 20-22


March 20, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

Cirque de la Symphonie is a new production formed to bring the magic of cirque to the music hall. It is an exciting adaptation of artistic performances widely seen in theaters and arenas everywhere.

Neal S. Blaisdell Arena
Concert Hall
777 Ward Avenue
HonoluluHI 96814



$27, $40, $53, $66, $79

Get Tickets


Saturday, March 21, 2015
10:00 AM - 09:00 PM

Heiva i Honolulu, a great family friendly event at the Waikiki Shell. Hawaii's largest Tahitian dance competition with local, mainland and international competitors. Also featuring Polynesian handicrafts and food. 

Waikiki Shell

2805 Monsarrat Ave.

HonoluluHI 96815



Adult (11yrs+) $15 / Child $10 (4-10yrs)
Get Tickets


Saturday, March 21, 2015
10:00 AM - 06:00 PM
Sunday, March 22, 2015
10:00 AM - 05:00 PM

Buy, Sell and Trade at the Honolulu Gun Show. Find all the modern firearms, antique guns, custom knives, military collectibles, historical items, hunting gear, shooting sports, display awards and more!
Hosted by Hawaii Historic Arms Association of Hawaii

Neal S. Blaisdell Arena
Concert Hall
777 Ward Avenue
HonoluluHI 96814

$6 GA / Child 11 years & under free w/ paid adult


Sunday, March 22, 2015
10:30 AM - 04:30 PM
Early Entry at 9am

Wiki Wiki One Day Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana Show is an all vintage (20 yrs & older) collectibles and antiques show and sale.

Neal S. Blaisdell Arena
Concert Hall
777 Ward Avenue
HonoluluHI 96814


General Admission $4.50; Early entry $15

St. Patrick's Day Block Party - March 17th

  Putting on my Irish tomorrow!  Don't forget to wear GREEN!  
Get out and celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a Block Party.

2 Merchant St
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 531-0422

This year will be Murphy's 28th annual St. Patrick's Day celebration. Everything starts at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 with great food and drink.

Brewers of Guinness have said "the single biggest St. Patrick's Day party any one bar throws in the United States."

At 5:00 p.m. Murphy's closes down Merchant Street from Nu'uanu Avenue to Bethel Street; Nu'uanu Avenue from King Street to the Nimitz Highway; and Marin Lane from Smith Street to Nu'uanu Avenue. Then they bring out the kegs of beer, other spirits and traditional Irish food, and the block party begins. 

Entertainment will be provided by the local Irish band Doolin' Rakes and the local band Elephant.